Spirulina Supplementation Improves Quality of Life for Patients With Ulcerative Colitis

Spirulina, Blue green algae. Spirulina represents a biomass of cyanobacteria (blue-green algae)
Investigators examined the effects of spirulina on anthropometric parameters, blood pressure, and quality of life measures in patients with ulcerative colitis.

Patients with ulcerative colitis (UC) that received spirulina supplementation reported improved quality of life after 8 weeks. These findings were published in The International Journal of Clinical Practice.

Patients (N=73) with UC were recruited from Imam Khomeini Hospital in Iran in 2020. Randomization occurred in a 1:1 ratio to receive 500 mg spirulina (n=36) or placebo (n=37) twice daily for 8 weeks. At baseline and study conclusion, patients were assessed using anthropometric parameters, by the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ), Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), Depression, Anxiety, Stress Scale (DASS-21-items), Fatigue Severity Scale (FFS), and Short Inflammatory Bowel Disease Questionnaire (SIBDQ).

The intervention and control cohorts consisted of individuals aged mean 37.77±11.67 and 39.48±11.03 years, 18 and 20 were women, and body mass index (BMI) was 26.01±4.41 and 25.61±5.05 kg/m2, respectively. No significant differences for baseline characteristics were observed between groups.

Among the intervention cohort, the following differed significantly at 8 weeks compared with baseline: stress scores (mean, 22.00 vs 16.88; P <.001), quality of life scores (mean, 41.61 vs 48.30; P <.001), sleep disturbance scores (mean, 5.19 vs 4.16; P =.004), depression scores (mean, 16.72 vs 13.61; P =.01), sleep quality scores (mean, 11.11 vs 9.00; P =.01), BMI (mean, 26.01 vs 26.22 kg/m2; P =.02), and body weight (mean, 72.33 vs 72.89 kg; P =.02, respectively).

At the study conclusion, the active treatment and control recipients differed significantly for quality of life (mean change from baseline, 6.69±7.69 vs 2.89±6.66; P =.03), sleep disturbance scores (mean change from baseline, -1.02±2.31 vs 0.51±2.76; P =.03), and stress scores (mean change from baseline, -5.11±7.50 vs -2.03±5.83; P =.04, respectively).

At the beginning of the trial, some individuals in the spirulina group reported mild bloating, which resolved during the study. No instances of allergic or serious adverse events were reported.

This study was limited by the fact that the study participants declined to undergo a post-intervention colonoscopy.

These data suggested that spirulina supplementation may improve quality of life for patients with UC. Additional, longer-term studies are needed to confirm these findings.


Moradi S, Zobeiri M, Feizi A, Clark CCT, Entezari MH. The effects of spirulina (Arthrospira platensis) supplementation on anthropometric indices, blood pressure, sleep quality, mental health, fatigue status and quality of life in patients with ulcerative colitis: a randomised, double-blinded, placebo-control. Int J Clin Pract. Published online June 9, 2021. doi:10.1111/ijcp.14472